Friday, February 26, 2010

Infamous housing project goes down!

A great time-lapse video made entirely of photographs on the demolition of Cabrini-Green

Taken from Planetizen Article, here

Detroit has enough money in its coffers for 1/3 tear down

Bridging the gap in public and private fund, Detroit aims to demo some of its vacant properties that have brought increased blight to the city. Read more here

Detroit can afford to tear down at least 2,500 homes, council is told

By Suzette Hackney, 2/22/10
Detroit has the funding to tear down 2,500 to 3,000 of the roughly 10,000 dangerous houses that are on the demolition rolls, according to city officials.

About $14 million in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program money and about $6 million from other funds will be used to demolish the homes, Karla Henderson, director of Detroit’s Buildings & Safety Engineering Department, told City Council this morning. It costs the city about $10,000 to demolish each single-family home.

“A lot of it comes down to funding,” Henderson said.

The city also is pursuing options to collect the cost of demolition from property owners.

Council members also said they want a better working relationship with the utility companies, which must shut down electricity, gas or water, before demolitions can begin. Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown suggested a task force to address the eight- to nine-month lag time it can sometimes take to cut off utility services.

But Councilwoman Brenda Jones said she would prefer the city use a computerized system to prioritize and track houses that have been on the demolition list for years.

Henderson said she was not confident that the housing information in the city’s current computer system is accurate.

“We are operating like 30 years ago,” she said.

Charles Beckham, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing’s group executive for operations, said a new system is 80% in place, and the city is just awaiting some additional software.

What's it worth in the long term?

Great Article from our very own Chicago Tribune about the effects of the Stimulus Package:

Obama's stimulus package, one year later: Too much quick fix; too little long-term infrastructure

By Blaire Kamin, 2/18/10

Belmont Here’s something you probably haven’t heard lately: a stimulus story where Democrats and Republicans aren’t hurling accusations at each other.

As the Chicago Transit Authority was rebuilding its heavily used Red and Brown Line stations at Fullerton and Belmont Avenues in 2007 and 2008, cash ran short. That forced the canopies over the stations’ platforms to be only about 125 feet long—nowhere near the length needed to protect all the passengers from the elements. Then, last year, the CTA got $1.9 million in stimulus funds to extend the canopies, making them roughly 300 feet long.

Now, rain and snow fall on far fewer riders than before. Passengers are less likely to bunch up under the canopies. Because the riders are evenly distributed, boarding and exiting the trains goes more smoothly. The canopies, made of a translucent plastic supported by steel columns, even upgrade their neighborhoods, gliding airily over the streets—and subtly encouraging more people to use transit.

Belmont2 As shaped by the station’s designers, Ross Barney Architects of Chicago, the canopies offer precisely the kind of benefit that the $787 billion stimulus package is supposed to provide. They’re useful, handsome and, above all, durable. Check back in 25 years and they’re sure to be around. Here’s the trouble for President Barack Obama: So far, they’re an exception to the kind of public works the controversial stimulus package is producing, not the rule.

In a bid to preserve or create much-needed jobs, most of the stimulus spending for infrastructure is pushing short-term fixes, like repaved roads. Such projects have undeniable added value, allowing traffic to flow more smoothly and preventing crater-sized potholes from blowing out tires. Yet the roads will simply have to be repaved a few years down the line. In the long run, whether the stimulus helps bring down unemployment or not, little will have changed.

“Few of the [stimulus] projects are transformative,” said Joseph Schofer, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Northwestern University.

Obama Not all of them were supposed to be, of course. Given the economic crisis that attended the passage of the stimulus package, tensions were bound to surface between putting people back to work quickly and building a lasting framework of public works. The construction of such a framework was always one of the animating ideas behind the package, officially known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Obama aimed to create public works on a grand scale, embracing traditional infrastructure projects, like fixing roads and bridges, as well as new ones such as extending broadband service to rural communities. The idea was to simultaneously jump-start and reshape the moribund economy, making it greener and more competitive. But the bill the president signed into law a year ago this week departed from this strategic vision in crucial ways.

With congressional Democrats crafting the measure, it funded a grab bag of tax cuts, jobless benefits and other measures. Infrastructure is just one piece of the sprawling piece of legislation and by no means the biggest one. The American Society of Civil Engineers puts the bill’s infrastructure spending at $71.8 billion, or less than one-tenth of the package. And, as a look at Obama’s home state of Illinois reveals, much of the money being spent is simply fixing existing infrastructure rather than building a new framework.

The state’s top recipient of stimulus funds is the Illinois Department of Transportation, which has received more than $845 million, according to the government’s stimulus Web site, Give IDOT that kind of money and it will spread asphalt and concrete like peanut butter. And that’s what the department is doing, hiring contractors by the score to resurface roads from the Wisconsin border to the state’s southern tip.

Read more here!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

This Friday: Bike for Your Rights, a Chicago Benefit for Mariel Mentink

What better way to enjoy a cold Friday night? Critical Mass, then come out and support a fundraiser for Mariel Mentink, this Friday at the Viaduct Theater at 9pm. Bikes, beer, and advocacy go hand in hand!!

The background: Early on New Years Day, Chicago resident, Mariel Mentink and a friend were riding home after a group bike ride around Austin. Riding westbound on Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard near Springdale, Mariel was hit from behind by a motorist in a grey SUV or pickup truck that immediately fled the scene. This near fatal hit and run has left Mariel with an uncertain future and a recovery time estimated to be 3 years that consists of intensive care, rehabilitation and physical therapy. This event's purpose is to support Mariel financially and also to help to increase bike safety and driver to bicycle awareness. Join us for live music, beer, and bike mechanics working for donations to give your ride a tune up or repair.

More information can be found here and here

So, dust off your bike and meet me Daley Plaza at 5:30pm for the start of critical mass, where we will ride over as a group to the Viaduct Theater. More info on Critical Mass can be found here. Questions about where to meet? Email

Don't forget to dress warm!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bike Parking: High Density Style

In Japan, they have created a bike parking structure that rivals all over bike parking structures, leaving us here, in the US, dreaming of this type of security.

Read the Article, taken from Planning Commissions Journal:
Given the high population density in Japan's metropolitan area, it shouldn't come as a surprise that a Japanese firm has come up with an automated bicycle storage facility. Take a look at this short video from The Guardian newspaper's website.

As Guardian editor David Munk describes it: "Has Japan designed the world's best bike shed? It's not often something stops you in your bike tracks. But a spectacular "bike tree" invention from Japan bowled me over when I was in Tokyo a couple of weeks ago.

Fed up with bicycles locked to railings, piled on top of each other, blocking doorways and roads, a local council in the city installed the mechanical masterpiece. It's basically an automatic storage system for cycles and operates with computer tagging of bikes and either storage in a building or a basement structure.

There are a number of locations where these bike trees are now in place in Tokyo some hold 600-odd bikes, others more than 6,000. The concept came from the massive Japanese steel company JFE, whose engineering works division first started them in 2007 but are now spreading.

... The process of retrieval normally takes 15 seconds but can be slightly longer (it took 30 seconds in my experience). The advantages are plain your bike becomes theft-proof, you are encouraged to cycle to work and local authorities don't have to deal with unsightly and sometimes annoying bicycle clutter. The downside is that it costs a lot of money and the infrastructure involves serious resources."

For more details on the bicycle storage facility, see:

Watch the Video:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Forgivable Student Loans?

Hey MUPPS! Did you know that if you work in the public service field after graduation AND you have made 120 payments to your Federal Student Loans, that the government will FORGIVE you of the rest of your payments? No kidding?!

Check it out. More information can be found here

Prepared by Federal Student Aid
U.S. Department of Education
February 3, 2010

The Questions & Answers (Q&As) that follow provide information about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program that is available to most borrowers with loans made through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program (Direct Loan ProgramSM). We have grouped the Q&As into four categories: General Information, Eligible Loans, Qualifying Payments, and Qualifying Employment. Following each answer is the date we posted that response. We will include a new date each time we add a question or when we update a previously posted response.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness – General Information

Q1 What is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program?
A1 The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program was established to encourage individuals to enter and continue in full-time public service employment by forgiving the remaining balance of their William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program loans (Direct LoansSM) after the borrower has made 120 qualifying monthly payments (beginning anytime after October 1, 2007) while employed full-time by a public service organization. (February 3, 2010)

Q2 What are the borrower eligibility requirements for loan forgiveness under the PSLF Program?
A2 You must be employed full-time by a public service organization (see Q&A #26) when you made each of the required 120 monthly loan payments on your Direct Loan and at the time you apply for loan forgiveness, after making the last of those 120 payments.

Q3 Are loan amounts forgiven under PSLF considered taxable income?
A3 No. According to the IRS, student loan amounts forgiven under PSLF are not considered income for tax purposes.

Q4 Is income a factor in determining my eligibility for PSLF?
A4 Not directly, but you will not have any remaining balance to be forgiven after 120 payments unless, at some point, your payments have been reduced through your use of the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan or the Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan (see Q&A#15).

Q5 If I have student loans through the FFEL Program, the Perkins Loan Program, or private non-federal student loan programs, can I take advantage of PSLF?
A5 Although PSLF is available only for Direct Loans, borrowers with FFELSM or Perkins loans may qualify for PSLF by consolidating those loans into the Direct Loan Program. Payments made on the FFEL or Perkins loans before they were consolidated into the Direct Loan Program are not counted toward the required 120 monthly payments. Non-federal student loans are not eligible for either consolidation into the Direct Loan Program or for PSLF. For more information about consolidating into the Direct Loan Program, go to, or call 1-800-557-7392.

Q6 Will my interest rate change if I consolidate my FFEL or Perkins loans into the Direct Loan Program to take advantage of PSLF (see Q&A #5)?
A6 The interest rate on a Direct Consolidation Loan is a fixed rate that is based on a weighted average of the interest rates of the loans that you consolidate, rounded up to the next higher one-eighth of one percent. Because of this rounding up, the new fixed interest rate may be slightly higher.

Q7 Are loans that are in default eligible for PSLF?
A7 No. However, a borrower with a defaulted loan may be eligible for PSLF by consolidating the defaulted loan (see Q&A #5) or by rehabilitating the defaulted loan. Rehabilitation includes the making of at least nine on-time payments on the defaulted loan. Specific information on the rehabilitation of a defaulted loan is available from the holder of the defaulted loan.

Q8 Are joint Direct Consolidation Loans (consolidation loans made jointly to married borrowers) eligible for PSLF?
A8 Yes. However, if only one of the two borrowers meets the eligibility requirements for PSLF, the forgiveness after 120 qualifying payments applies only to the remaining balance of the joint consolidation loan that is attributable to the loans originally received by the borrower who performed the qualifying employment.

Q9 My spouse and I have a joint FFEL consolidation loan and we both work in public service jobs. Can we consolidate our joint consolidation loan into the Direct Loan Program to take advantage of PSLF?
A9 No. Because the law no longer permits joint consolidation loans to be made, you cannot reconsolidate an existing FFEL joint consolidation loan into the Direct Loan Program.

Q10 Are PLUS loan borrowers eligible for PSLF?
A10 Grad PLUS borrowers can benefit from PSLF by working in public service employment and making at least some of the required 120 payments under the IBR or ICR plans (see Q&A #13).
Parent PLUS loans are not eligible to be repaid under IBR or ICR. However, a parent PLUS borrower could consolidate the PLUS loans and then choose ICR for the new Direct Consolidation Loan. While a Direct Consolidation Loan that repaid a parent PLUS loan may not be repaid under IBR, it can be repaid under ICR. Note that if you are a parent PLUS borrower, your eligibility for PSLF is based on your own public service employment, not the employment of the student on whose behalf you obtained the PLUS loan.

Q11 What are the specific loan repayment requirements for loan forgiveness under the PSLF Program?
A11 You must have made 120 separate monthly payments (beginning after October 1, 2007) on the Direct Loan Program loans for which you are requesting forgiveness. Each of the monthly payments must have been made for the full scheduled installment amount within 15 days of the due date for the payment.

Q12 I have been making payments on my Direct LoansSM since before October of 2007. Will these payments count towards the required 120 payments for PSLF?
A12 Under the law, only payments made after October 1, 2007 may be counted towards the required 120 payments for PSLF.

Q13 What Direct Loan Program repayment plans qualify under the PSLF Program?
A13 The 120 required monthly payments must be made under one or more of the following Direct Loan Program repayment plans –
•The Income Based Repayment (IBR) Plan;
•The Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan;
•The Standard Repayment Plan, with a 10 year repayment period; and
•Any other Direct Loan repayment plan, but only payments that are at least equal to the monthly payment amount that would have been paid under the Standard Repayment Plan with a 10-year repayment period may be counted toward the required 120 monthly payments.

Q14 What other Direct Loan repayment plans would give me a monthly payment that is at least equal to the payment that would be required under a 10-year Standard Repayment Plan?
A14 In some cases, payments made during the later portion of the repayment period under the Graduated Repayment Plan may equal or exceed the payment amount that would be required under a 10-year Standard Repayment Plan. Under the Graduated Repayment Plan, payments start out lower and then gradually increase, generally every two years.

Q15 Is it true that, while payments made under the Standard 10-Year Repayment Plan are eligible for PSLF, if I make all required payments under a 10-year plan, there will not be any remaining balance to be forgiven?
A15 Yes. The Standard Plan is included because some borrowers may have made payments under a Standard Plan for a portion of the 120 months and made the remaining payments under either IBR or ICR, leaving them with a remaining balance after 120 payments have been made. While payments under certain other repayment plans may be counted toward the required 120 payments, to receive any forgiveness under the PSLF Program it is likely that you must make at least some of your loan payments under IBR or ICR.

Q16 Must the 120 required payments be consecutive?
A16 No. You must make 120 separate on-time, full monthly payments while you are employed by an eligible public service organization, but the payments do not have to be consecutive.

Q17 If I pay more than the required amount of my monthly student loan payment, can that be counted as more than one qualifying payment for PSLF? For example, if I make a single payment that is equal to three monthly payments, will that be counted as three payments toward the required 120 monthly payments?
A17 No. You must make 120 separate monthly payments. There is a limited exception to this requirement for Peace Corps and AmeriCorps volunteers – see Q&A #19.

Q18 What happens if I can't afford to make the required monthly payment under IBR? Are other repayment options available if I want to qualify for PSLF?
A18 Payments made under certain other Direct Loan repayment plans may be counted toward the required 120 payments for PSLF (see Q&A #13), but the IBR Plan will generally provide you with a lower monthly payment than you would be required to make under any of the other plans. Therefore, changing from IBR to one of the other repayment plans that qualifies for PSLF would most likely increase your required monthly payment amount. If you cannot afford to make your required IBR payment, contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center to discuss deferment or forbearance options that would allow you to temporarily stop making payments
or, in the case of a forbearance, to temporarily make smaller payments. However, the months when you are in a deferment or forbearance do not count toward the 120 on-time, full monthly payments required for PSLF.

Q19 I’m thinking of serving as a Peace Corps or AmeriCorps volunteer and plan to request a deferment or forbearance on my loans, since I won’t be able to afford to make loan payments while I am serving. If I’m not making payments during my service period, can my Peace Corps or AmeriCorps service count for PSLF?
A19 Yes, Peace Corps and AmeriCorps volunteers were afforded special treatment under the PSLF regulations to recognize their service. Peace Corps volunteers receive a transition payment after completing their period of service, and AmeriCorps volunteers receive a Segal Education Award after a year of service. If you use some or all of your Peace Corps transition payment or AmeriCorps Segal Education Award to make a lump sum payment on your Direct Loans, your service will be considered PSLF-eligible service and you will receive credit for up to 12 qualifying payments for PSLF. The number of payments that you receive credit for will be determined by dividing the amount of your lump sum payment by your scheduled full monthly payment amount, not to exceed 12 payments.

Q20 If my monthly payment under IBR or ICR is zero, does each month during which my calculated payment is zero count towards the required 120 payments?
A20 Yes. Any month when your calculated payment under IBR or ICR is zero will count toward your required 120 monthly payments.

Q21 How do I know if my employer is a “public service organization” that is an eligible employer for the PSLF Program?
A21 The term “public service organization” covers a broad range of employers, including any federal, state, or local government organization or agency and most charitable non-profit organizations.

Q22 What public (government) employers qualify as eligible employers for the PSLF Program?
A22 Any federal government, state government, local government, or tribal government entity (including the military, public schools and colleges, public child and family services agencies, and special governmental districts) is an eligible employer for the PSLF Program.

Q23 What private non-profit employers qualify as eligible employers for the PSLF Program?
A23 Eligible non-profit employers include those that have received a 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS. These include most private schools, colleges, and universities, as well as thousands of other organizations, agencies, and charities. Your employer will easily be able to tell you if it has the required IRS designation. The IRS has a searchable database of 501(c)(3) organizations at

Q24 Can a private employer that has not received a 501(c)(3) designation qualify as a public service organization for the PSLF Program?
A24 Yes, if the employer is a non-profit organization that meets certain requirements (see below) and provides one or more of the following public services:
•Emergency management,
•Military service,
•Public safety,
•Law enforcement,
•Public interest law services,
•Early childhood education (including licensed or regulated childcare, Head Start, and state-funded pre-kindergarten),
•Public service for individuals with disabilities and the elderly,
•Public health (including nurses, nurse practitioners, nurses in a clinical setting, and full-time professionals engaged in health care practitioner occupations and health care support occupations),
•Public education,
•Public library services, and
•School library or other school-based services.
In addition, the employer must not be a labor union, a partisan political organization, or an organization that is engaged in religious activities (unless the qualifying public services it provides are unrelated to religious instruction, worship services, or proselytizing).

Q25 What types of public service jobs will qualify me for loan forgiveness under the PSLF Program?
A25 The specific job that you perform does not matter, as long as you are employed by a public service organization. For example, if you are a full-time employee of a public school system, your employment would meet the requirements for PSLF, regardless of your position (teacher, administrator, support staff, etc.).

Q26 What is considered full-time employment for PSLF?
A26 Generally, this means you are working an average of at least 30 hours per week or the number of hours the employer considers full-time. For more detailed information about what is considered full-time employment for PSLF purposes, see the definition of “full-time” in the PSLF regulations at 34 CFR 685.219(b).

Q27 Will the Department of Education track my qualifying employment and payments while I am working toward meeting the 120 months of required payments for PSLF?
A27 It is the borrower’s responsibility to have documentation that supports a request for loan forgiveness under the PSLF Program. This includes documentation from the borrower’s employer or employers. Based on this employment documentation, the U.S. Department of Education will be able to identify qualifying employment and payments. The U.S. Department of Education is developing a PSLF application that borrowers may use to document their qualifying employment while they are making the required 120 payments.

Q28 What kind of documentation do I need to keep to show that I worked for a qualifying employer while making the required 120 payments?
A28 A PSLF application form that may be used to document qualifying employment is being developed. Until the form becomes available, you should keep records that clearly identify your employer, show that your employer meets the definition of a public service organization (see Q&As #23 and #24), show your dates of employment, and demonstrate that you are a full-time employee.

Q29 Does Peace Corps service qualify as public service employment?
A29 Yes, if you are serving as a full-time Peace Corps volunteer. (See Q&A #19)

Q30 I am employed full-time by a private company, doing work under a contract with a state government agency. Does this employment qualify for PSLF?
A30 No. You must be directly employed by the public service organization.

Q31 I know that employment with a public school qualifies for PSLF. What about employment with a private school?
A32 Most private schools, colleges and universities are not-for-profit entities that are tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations. Therefore, they would qualify as public service organizations for PSLF purposes.

Q33 May I hold several different qualifying jobs while making the required 120 payments for PSLF and still be eligible for forgiveness?
A33 Yes. As long as you can provide documentation verifying that you were employed full-time by a public service organization (or by a combination of public service organizations) at the time you made each of the 120 required payments, and also at the time you applied for and received the PSLF benefit.

Q34 If I receive my pay in the form of a stipend, will my employment qualify for PSLF?
A34 The determining factor for PSLF eligibility is whether you made each of the required 120 payments while you were employed full-time by a public service organization. The form of payment you received from the public service organization does not matter.

Additional information on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is available at:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

APA Conference: Last Day to Register at $100 Student Rate

A reminder that today is the last day to take advantage of the student registration price of $100 before it increases to $120. Register today to save money and don’t forget to submit a copy of your receipt to to be eligible for reimbursements. Thanks to all who have already sent in their receipts!

Some extra tidbits of information that may help you plan your trip follow:

1. Some transportation options to and from New Orlean’s Louis Armstrong Int’l Airport and the city centre are:

· Deluxe Shuttle If you want a little more leg room at an affordable price. They provide transportation between the airport and any downtown location for $25 each way. Contact us at 1-877-546-8788 or at

· Jefferson Transit: The Airport-Downtown Express (E-2) Bus picks up outside airport Entrance #7 on the upper level.

o Bus Fare: The fare for Airport-Downtown Express (E-2) is $1.10. The fare boxes will accept $1, $5, $10, $20 dollar bills and all U.S. coins. The fare boxes will provide change in the form of a value card that can be used for future fares.

o About the Airport-Downtown Express (E-2) Route: The Airport-Downtown Express (E-2) provides service from the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport in Kenner, down Airline Drive into New Orleans. The Airport bus stop is on the second level of the Airport, near the Delta counter, in the median (look for the sign and bench). At Carrollton at Tulane it connects with RTA's 27-Louisiana and 39-Tulane buses. (Visit the RTA website to check their current schedules.)

o For more information on public transit in the area, visit the Jefferson Transit website,, or the RTA website

· Taxicabs: A cab ride costs $33.00 from the airport to the Central Business District (CBD) for one or two persons and $14.00 (per passenger) for three or more passengers. Pick-up is on the lower level, outside the baggage claim area. There may be an additional charge for extra baggage.

2. The location of the Conference will be at the Morial Convention Centre (900 Convention Center Blvd. New Orleans, LA 70130.) The Centre is located just south of the Vieux Carre and downtown (walking distance for some).

3. Through, the lowest airfare from Friday 4/9 through Tuesday 4/13 is $236 on Delta Airlines (via Atlanta).

o Alternatively, has published roundtrip fares for 4/9 – 4/13 of $220 per reserved coach seat. has fares for the same dates, roundtrip at $154.

4. For those less selective as to which hotel they stay at, is offering a three-star hotel room at $98/night pre tax.

o For hostel accommodations in New Orleans, visit . Nightly rates range roughly in the neighborhood of $16-20.

o A hotel thread has been started on UPPSA’s Blogspot under the February 7th post. Feel free to make a posting should you need a roommate or have a hotel room already with extra space @

5. Finally, volunteer applications are still being accepted through March 9th.

6. Lonely Planet’s thorough website has great reviews on where to eat and what to see while down in the “Crescent City.”

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

CREATE, other rail and transit projects receive TIGER funding

One year after the stimulus bill was signed into law, the Department of Transportation unveiled the winners of its big TIGER grants, which are transportation projects awarded on merit to cities and transit agencies from around the country.

For proponents of new streetcar projects in cities like Cincinnati, Charlotte, and Atlanta, today’s announcement is a major let-down. Each had hoped to win but a small portion of the U.S. Department if Transportation’s $1.5 billion in discretionary funds for meritorious transportation projects.

Alas, applicants from all fifty states demanded a total of more than $56 billion in federal grants, and there simply is not enough money to spread around.

But the Department of Transportation is moving in a positive direction: only 23% of investment went to highway projects, compared to 26% for transit and much more for intermodal and freight rail. It also has invested big bucks in pedestrian improvement programs. Indeed, TIGER says a lot about how this DOT works when it’s not under the direct control of Congress: it is prioritizing spending that is not car-centric.


APA Conference - Sessions v Mobile Workshops

The APA Conference website, and organization of the conference in general can be a bit confusing to those who have not attended. Here is a response to a recent student question outlining the difference between sessions, mobile workshops, and training sessions and how you sign up for them. Enjoy! ~ Katie

At the conference there are several kinds of activities - sessions (or could be called panels), mobile workshops, and training sessions.

The sessions are the bread & butter of the conference - they are what is included in your registration fee and there are multiple sessions going on in each time slot throughout the day at the conference. They are basically talks and presentations from practicing planners, etc, about the topic. You do not have to sign up for these sessions and can choose right before you go to them (or even go to one and leave for another one) - open door policy. You can view the session in the conference section by going to Program/ Browse and then clicking on the different tracks (They are the ones that say 0$). There is the tab to add the session to your schedule, though you don't have to. This schedule of sessions that you set up is only for your convenience and you can change it. You will receive a brochure in your registration packet when you arrive that shows all of the sessions for each day and is much clearer.

The mobile workshops and training session are extra (however much noted next to their tab). You do need to sign up (and pay for) these ahead of time. When you register you will be given the option to do this. Once you are signed up for them, you are not able to change the workshop. When you arrive at the conference, your registration packet will include a ticket for this workshop. They may have a bulletin board at the conference where people can put up tickets that they are not using, so you could try to trade out a ticket there.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Downsizing" Detroit

Interesting article from the Detroit News:

Detroit --Mayor Dave Bing said today his troubled city could have a bright future if it properly downsizes, markets its positives and find ways to re-create vibrant, safe communities to attract new growth.

"Without a doubt, we've got to downsize the city," Bing said of the city's shrinking population.

He said the city needs to "market our strengths" such as the casinos and the Detroit River.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Last Call: UPPSA Membership!

Ladies and Gentlemen, this semester's episode of Jason Letterman's "Top 10 Reasons to Join or Renew your UPPSA Membership." (where's my drum roll?)

#10... UPPSA does a body good
#9... Our name backwards is ASPPU... wait... forget this one
#8... We put the dungeon... I mean Basement Lounge... to good use
#7... The best part of wakin' uppa is UPPSA in your CUPPA
#6... (a Fall 2009 classic) You're tired of blowing $15 on lattes every week and want it to go to a better cause (i.e., your own professional development)
#5... (another Fall 2009 classic) UPPSA is green, sustainable, LEED Certified, photovoltaic, and the Board Members all wear green collars
#4... $1.25 = parking for one hour, or membership for a whole month!
#3... UPPSA makes it happen! (this one's serious)
#2... Being an UPPSA member makes more sense than the iPad
And the number one reason to join or renew your UPPSA membership...
NOLA 2010!

UPPSA Membership applications are due Monday, February 15!

Don't have a membership form? Download one here:

Jason Saavedra
Candidate, Master of Urban Planning and Policy '10
President, Urban Planning and Policy Student Association

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Beyond Burnham

Tuesday, February 23, 2010 • 5:00 p.m.

Burnham Conference Center at the American Planning Association
122 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 1600
Chicago, IL

Since the publication of Burnham and Bennett's Plan of Chicago in 1909, powerful institutions such as the Chicago Plan Commission and Regional Transportation Authority, among others, have emerged to promote metropolitan goals in the Chicago region. In their new illustrated book on the topic, Joseph Schwietrman and Alan Mammoser show how the human face of planning appears in the interplay between public officials and citizen advocates.

Schwieterman and Mamoser will share how a century of visionary planning for metropolitan Chicago has shaped the region's identity and character. From Daniel H. Burnham and Edward H. Bennett's famed 1909 Plan of Chicago to the push for superhighways and airports to battles over urban sprawl, they will describe the big personalities and the "big plans" they espoused.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Traffic Jams, Crowds and Human Behavior

Date/Time: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 6:15pm - 7:45pm

Location: The Firehouse Grill, 750 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 60201

Early morning traffic jams, real-time traffic alerts, traffic reports, late afternoon traffic snarls, road conditions, accidents, and more cars added to the mix every day! It’s enough to raise your blood pressure just reading those words.

Let’s talk about it with Hani Mahmassani, professor of civil engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern and director of the Transportation Center.

Science Cafe Evanston is an informal event where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology.

For more information, click here.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Hotel Pool and Information Board

As we chatted about at last Friday's conference planning meeting, it might be a nice option for those attending the conference to be able to create hotel pools to split lodging costs. As such, UPPSA is structuring this post on its blog for those who have yet to book a hotel room and are either looking for a hotel partner(s) to split costs with, or just looking for a cheap hotel rate. All you need to do is add a comment to this post to keep the thread alive and other attendees informed.

So if you find a cheap hotel or hostel rate--post it! (along with the date you found it and where online) If you're in need of a hotel buddy, post your contact information.

Friday, February 5, 2010

February APA-CMS Program - Planning for a Sustainable Future: Hot Topics and Cool Examples

Hey MUPPS, here is a great Sustainability event, brought to you by the APA-CMS. Sign up early to reserve your seat!

and the
invite you to attend the
February 25, 2010 Program
Planning for a Sustainable Future:
Hot Topics and Cool Examples

Among the skills of an effective and successful planner is the ability to identify sustainable best practices that conserve environmental resources while improving government performance. Join APA-CMS in hearing local experts discuss aspects of planning for a sustainable future. We will hear regional and municipal perspectives about water conservation, energy planning and financing strategies to implement the initiatives of comprehensive sustainable plans

Timothy T. Loftus, Ph.D. Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
As a Principal, Tim leads CMAP’s Environment and Natural Resources planning group and is involved with various water resource planning efforts, including the Project Director for the eleven county Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply Plan. He will provide an overview of the state-sanctioned three year planning initiative that will be completed in early 2010 and discuss what has been learned from the science and what the region should be doing now.

Grace Rink, Senior Project Manager at AECOM
Ms. Rink will discuss opportunities for funding the development of sustainability plans and securing the funds to put sustainable initiatives into action, including EECBG. As a senior project manager for AECOM, she provides strategic services for clients seeking to improve their environmental performance, including developing and implementing sustainability programs and policies.

Carolyn Collopy, Sustainable Programs Coordinator for the City of Evanston
Ms. Collopy will present the municipal perspective. She will discuss Evanston's sustainability initiatives to create a healthy environment and strong economy by implementing best practices and policies in infrastructure and services. The City’s Climate Action Plan includes recommendations on: transportation, land use, energy efficiency, renewable resources, waste reduction, food production, carbon offsets, as well as research, communication and education.

Thursday, February 25, 2010, 9:00 a.m. to noon

DePaul University School of Public Service
14 East Jackson, Room 1601
Chicago, IL 60604

$15 paid at the door (or $5 for students that RSVP by February 19). Session fee is
payable at registration. Checks should be made payable to APA-CMS.

Please e-mail by February 19. NOTE: Seating
for this event is very limited, so please RSVP as early as possible.

For information about the program, please contact Laurie Marston, Chaddick Institute Technical Advisor at (847)681-1680 or

CM CREDITS: AICP CM Credits pending.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

2010 National Conference Planning Meeting

UPPSA would like to invite all MUPPS to a meeting next Friday, February 5th at 6:00pm, to talk about the upcoming APA National Conference in New Orleans (tentatively scheduled for room 110). We will be hosting a brief presentation outlining the reimbursement process, key dates you should be aware of, as well as sharing the board's previous experiences and recommendations from last year's conference. Please join us!

Mike Sobczak